By Investors Hub
Asian markets drifted lower on Friday, led by losses in technology stocks amid falling demand for smartphones and a downward revision in revenue target by the world’s largest contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor.
Japanese stocks ended slightly lower, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index edging down by 28.94 points or 0.1 percent to 22,162.24.
In economic news, overall consumer prices in Japan were up 1.1 percent year-over-year in March, data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed. That was in line with expectations and down from 1.5 percent in February.
Core CPI, which excludes volatile food prices, gained an annual 0.9 percent, again matching forecasts and down from 1.0 percent in the previous month. On a monthly basis, overall inflation fell 0.4 percent and core CPI was down 0.1 percent.
Meanwhile, Japan’s tertiary industry activity showed no variations in February, in line with expectations, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed. On a monthly basis, the tertiary industry activity index remained flat in February after a 0.4 percent decrease in January.
In the Australian market, shares from the telecom and utility sectors trended lower. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index ended down 12.20 points or 0.2 percent at 5,868.80. The broader All Ordinaries Index declined 12 points or 0.2 percent to 5,964.40.
G8 Education, the biggest loser in the benchmark index, slumped 7.2 percent. Evolution Mining, Independence Group, Eclipx Group, NB Holdings, JB Hi-Fi and TPG Telecom ended lower by 2 to 5 percent.
Among big four banks, ANZ Bank and Westpac ended flat, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Bank of Queensland ended lower by 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
Chinese stocks ended notably lower, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 45.90 points or 1.5 percent to 3,071.47 1due largely to heavy selling in telecom and software stocks. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slumped 290.11 points or 0.9 percent to 30,418.33.
Shares of China Huarong Asset Management Co., the country’s biggest bad debt manager, plunged about 11 percent after the company’s chairman Lai Xiaomin stepped down amid an investigation into alleged corruption.
AAC Technologies and Sunny Optical Technologies tumbled 8.1 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Lenovo Group, China Petroleum and Hengen International Group lost 2.5 to 4 percent.
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